School holidays require a little bit of extra effort on the part of parents of school aged children. Generally speaking all extra activities are off for the school holidays. When it comes to toddlers, this includes all those regularly-scheduled activities you get along during the school term too.

It’s especially hard to be cooped up indoors with a toddler who has seemingly boundless energy. So here we’ve focussed on some activities to keep toddlers occupied when you need to spend a bit more time at home than usual.

Water… water… water

  • Toddlers are fascinated by all things water so use this to your benefit! Washing hands is a frequent activity in our house, with a little stool near the tap. My 16 month old would choose to be there all day if he could!


  • Fill the bath and tip some food colouring in for something a little interesting and different. Also useful are the little water crayons that children can use on the side of a bath or shower, that wash right away.


  • Get out a large tray or baking dish and put a few different plastic containers on it. Use a jug to part fill each with water and demonstrate how to tip from one to the other. Colour the water for some variety… and have some rags handy, or else take the activity into the bathtub, or on a warmer day – outside.


  • If you’ve got a shower where the spout can be removed, let it drop down into the bath and let your toddler(s) have a wonderful time with it. Drinking, spraying, filling containers…


  • Grab a chair and have your toddler near you to help you with washing the vegetables for dinner.  Once you demonstrate how, they will start looking for every possible vegetable to ‘clean’.



  • Buy some inexpensive toy cars and have them dip the wheels in paint and drive them all over some paper


  • Get a selection of balls (like the dryer balls with spikes, or squishy balls, old tennis balls) and dip them in paint, and roll them (gently!) across a table covered in paper (this could be a good thing to do in the garage).


  • Try filling a bunch of vessels with different textures that you can find in the cupboard – lentils, pasta, flour, cereal etc. – tip from one to the other, throw it around a bit, bury things in it etc.  Check this post out for sensory bin ideas.


  • Playing in the lounge with a couple of different textured blankets, pillows, mattress protectors/underlays, jackets etc. can be great fun.  Build a fort, hide teddies or have your teddy bear picnic underneath a blanket fort with a couple of torches.


  • Playdough is pretty fun to sink your hands into!  Do watch your child if you think they may put it in their mouth though.

Have fun! Your little person will love any extra effort you go to in order to keep them busy when they aren’t able to get out and about as they might do in their usual routine.

Some useful toddler activity articles and resources

We have loads more great ideas for toddlers in our Creative Arts and Crafts section.

You can also check out our Children’s Art, Crafts and Activities products and services.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Sally is the Community Manager here at Kiwi Families. She fills her time with her handsome, busy boys and her handsome, busy husband; trying out new recipes and researching and writing about family life in Aotearoa.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x